Altruism in the (Social) Network

Brañas-Garza, Pablo and Cobo-Reyes, Ramón and Paz Espinosa, María and Jiménez, Natalia and Ponti, Giovanni (2006) Altruism in the (Social) Network. [Working Paper]. p. 5. DFAEII Working Papers (No. 200604).

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Abstract/Index

This paper explores the role of social integration on altruistic behavior. To this aim, we develop a two-stage experimental protocol based on the classic Dictator Game. In the first stage, we ask a group of 77 undergraduate students in Economics to elicit their social network; in the second stage, each of them has to unilaterally decide over the division of a fixed amount of money to be shared with another anonymous member in the group. Our experimental design allows to control for other variables known to be relevant for altruistic behavior: framing and friendship/acquaintance relations. Consistently with previous research, we find that subjects favor their friends and that framing enhances altruistic behavior. Once we control for these effects, social integration (measured by betweenness, a standard centrality measure in network theory) has a positive effect on giving: the larger social isolation within the group, the more likely it is the emergence of selfish behavior. These results suggest that information on the network structure in which subjects are embedded is crucial to account for their behavior.


Item Type:Report / Paper (Working Paper)
Research documents and activity classification:Working Papers > Non-Refereed Working Papers / of national relevance only
Divisions:Department of Business and Management
Uncontrolled Keywords:Altruism; Social Integration; Social Networks; Experiments.
MIUR Scientific Area:Area 13 - Economics and Statistics > SECS-P/01 Political Economy
Deposited By:Maria Teresa Nistico
Deposited On:15 Dec 2010 16:16
Last Modified:23 Apr 2013 14:49

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